Wednesday, 1 October 2008
William the Conqueror in Gold Cup at Ayr Racecourse
By: Iain Ferguson
WILLIE Carson is the top Scottish jockey of all time but he never won the Ayr Gold Cup. But now his grandson William aged 19 has achieved what granddad couldn’t do.
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The teenager showed nerves of steel as he kicked his mount Regal Parade clear just over a furlong out, and the John Smith’s Ayr Gold Cup was his by two and a quarter lengths.
He winner and the runner up Tajneed are both trained by David Nicholls, incredibly saddling his fifth Gold Cup winner in nine years. David’s son Adrian had chosen Tajneed, but the day belonged to young Carson and Regal Parade.
The 18/1 chance had been gambled steadily from a morning price of 28/1 and a delighted trainer was full of praise for the young rider he only met for the first time minutes before the race.
Nicholls said: “I told William to ride him with a lot of confidence and, fair credit, he gave him a great ride. This is a big day for him.”
William after posing for photographs with the Gold Cup (pictured above) added: “I had an easy job. He took himself to the front and I just kept him going. I’ve spoken to my grandfather and he’s delighted for me. I have won a race that he never managed to win as a jockey, so I have got to be happy.”
The rain stayed away for all of Saturday and most of Thursday and Friday and crowds were on a par with last year - 3,000 on Thursday, just below 6,000 on Friday and 12,000 on Saturday with racegoers enjoying some great racing at Scotland’s top flat meeting of the season.
Other highlights on Saturday included a fine win for the Alan Bailey trained, Jimmy Quinn ridden Aspen Darlin at 12/1 in The Laundry Cottage Stud Firth Of Clyde Stakes and an outstanding performance from Lady Deauville in The Alphabet Supplies Doonside Cup, a Listed Race.
Trained by Paul Blockely and ridden by Franny Norton, Lady Deauville relished the heavy going and kept on well at odds of 15/2 to score by a length and three-quarters from Mutajarred (7/1).
The closest finish of the three days came in the penultimate race on Saturday’s card, The Dobbie Electrical Contractors Handicap. Hot favourite Torphicen (5/4) went down by a head to Tarkheena Prince (9/2) trained by Alan Swinbank and ridden by Robert Winston.
The opening race on Saturday the Nigel Angus Memorial Nursery, run in memory of the late trainer who was the last Scottish based handler to train a winner of the Ayr Gold Cup - Roman Warrior back in 1975. The winner of the race Rising Prospect (15/2) may never be as good as the Warrior but was far too good for this field and under Eddie Ahern scooted home by two and three quarters lengths from Cosmic Sun (3/1 favourite).
The meeting began on Thursday when the highlight was The McEwan’s Ales Handicap for the Kilkerran Cup. The evens favourite Allied Powers was an easy winner here by a length and three-quarters from Blue Spinnaker.
Linda Perratt was celebrating after landing the MacB Selling Stakes with 80/1 shot Jim Martin ridden by PJ McDonald. In a thrilling finish the horse got up by a head to deny Resonate with the odds on favourite She’s Our Lass a further head away in third.
Elsewhere on the opening day there were eyecatching performances from the Mick Channon trained Grit (7/1) an easy winner of the totesuper7 Handicap and the immensely impressive Keys Of Cyprus (7/2 joint favourite) in the Unick Architects Handicap.
On Friday there was a Scottish triumph in the John Smith’s Ayr Silver Cup when Against the Grain (16/1) came storming home by two and three quarters lengths from Harrison George (10/1). Trainer Lenny Lungo is based at Carrutherstown near Dumfries and said afterwards: “He's always been a good horse and the key to him is the ground. Heavy ground suited and hopefully we’ll be back next year for a tilt at the Gold Cup.”
The opening race on Friday, the Scottish Sun EBF Maiden Stakes went to Hey Up Dad (3/1) in the hands of Tony Hamilton for trainer Michael Dods. The two year old gelding was two lengths too good for Pokfulham (5/1).
There was a really impressive winner in Friday’s Grants Fruit Merchant Prestwick Harry Rosebery Stakes for the South Ayrshire Cup when Magic Cat (9/2) powered home by a length and a half from Total Gallery (7/2). Ridden by Andrew Elliott and trained by Karl Burke this horse should prove to be a decent three year old next season.
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